Last year, my wife and I decided to purchase a home. We were newly weds and had high hopes. We looked all around for homes. We also decided to check into manufactured homes, because they looked very nice. The promise of $8,000 for a tax credit was the clincher. We decided it was the right time to buy. We finally settled on a home from a reputable manufactured/modular home store. Let me offer some warnings and advice.
In my hometown, there are several places to purchase manufactured homes. The two nicest are part of the same organization overall, and we thought looking at both would be a wise choice. Both stores had similar style homes and nice salesmen who claimed they had 90% customer satisfaction. We also discovered that in the next town fifteen minutes over there was a third store that was part of the same company.
This did not breed any sense of company loyalty. We developed a relationship with the salesman at the first store. We planned on buying from him, but decided to check one of the other two stores to see the style of homes they had. We were told by our preferred salesman that he could get whatever the other stores had. When we arrived at the store, they were clearing out some models, and were selling “lot models,” that came furnished with what was in the home. He said the only way we could purchase one though was to apply through his store. Because we needed some new furniture, we decided it was actually the best deal we could get. We were approved quickly, by the company’s in house bank. We weren’t quite approved for the house we wanted, but the salesman said he had some other banks that would approve us. We gave him our deposit, and told him to get us approved. However, because we were approved for enough to buy one of the cheaper houses on the lot, the salesman began dragging his feet. We decided to check one of the other stores in the chain to see if we could get a house that the salesman could get us at that price. There we ran into the same issue. A salesman claimed they were clearing out homes but we would have to reapply through him. We found the perfect house, the salesman claimed he could get us land in under the amount, and would have us ready to move in two months. We decided to go with that.
The same company that twice claimed we could only buy a house through them if we were approved from their actual store then proceeded to treat us as pariahs for looking around. The salesmen from both other stores called and said we were being lied too. They claimed we were also horrible people for shopping around in their company stores. And it took us a LONG time to get our down payment back from the one store.
Our promise that we could move in within 2 months didn’t quite hold up either. After dealing with salesmen from two of the company’s stores blessing us out frequently, and having our new salesman complain to their district headquarters, our new store kept pushing back our projected move-in date. Eventually it took us 2 months to move. We were even told at one point that the store just wouldn’t sell us a house, if we wouldn’t stop asking when we could move into our new house we were purchasing. We were threatened that if we contacted their company headquarters, our home deal was off.
We are now in our new home. We do like it a lot. However, there are repair issues that need to be fixed as I am writing this. Our tax credit seems to be lost in the hallowed halls of the IRS. My advice for any potential buyers of pre-fab homes is to find a company. Stick with it. And be willing and able to wait. No matter what they claim in store, there is no quick move ins. They will work with you, but they will also miss deadlines, screw up paper work, and generally it may not be the pleasant experience you want. The house will probably be worth it though. Weigh the options and decide what seems best. Good hunting!